June 3, 2009
The Virginia Museum of Natural History was crawling with bugs on Saturday, May 30, during the museum's fourth annual Bug Daze family festival.
This year's festival featured several new attractions, including the Bearded Bee Man and the Phydeaux Flying Flea Circus of George Esparza, adding a hint of a carnival atmosphere to the festival. The Dan River Basin Association presented "Tub of Bugs!", allowing visitors to see up-close and first-hand what really lives in nature's waters.
A special presentation, "Identification of Disease Vector Ticks in Virginia", was presented by tick expert Dr. David N. Gaines of the Virginia Department of Health. His talk focused on the 15 tick species found in Virginia and the most common diseases carried among them. Gaines explained the methods, difficulty and necessity of identifying the different tick species to gain a better understanding of what possible diseases a bite victim might contract. The presentation also explained tick bite prevention and what steps to take if a bite is suspected.
The Carlisle School Players presented the children's play "Dr. Belinda Brilliant and Her Amazing Learn More Machine: Bugs." Dr. Belinda Brilliant and her assistant, Skippy, used the Amazing Learn More Machine to shrink themselves to the size of bugs in order to learn more about the creatures. The audience joined them on their adventure as they met new friends, including Mollie the millipede, Stanley the ladybug and more.
In addition, Bug Daze offered a full slate of activities for children and families, including a bug walk, high-definition movies, a large variety of specimens from the VMNH and Virginia Tech entomology collections, and hands-on children's activities throughout the day.
Visitors to the festival took advantage of the "VMNH Summer Stimulus" program, which includes discounted admission rates and reduced new-membership fees for all visitors throughout the summer.
The Bug Daze family festival was sponsored by the Virginia Department of Health.